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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

God's Supreme Interest in Man # 11

Then there is the other side: "Wherein you were also raised with Him through faith in the working, in the energy of God, Who raised Him from the dead." And that is followed by, "If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth" (Col. 3:1, 2). You put on something altogether new, you repudiate one form, or nature of life, and put on another.

You remember when Saul the king was rejected by God. And God said, "I have rejected him." And this is a very drastic thing, a very terrible thing for Saul. This is his repudiation by God. Well Saul took hold of the garment of Samuel, and it rent, and Samuel said: "The Lord has rent the kingdom out of your hands." A very terrible thing, Saul was rejected, the old man could not any longer stand in God's favor and acceptance. Samuel mourned for Saul. And the Lord stepped in and said in essence, "Why mourn ye for Saul, seeing I have rejected him? Arise, take your horn of oil: - "Go, anoint David." - I have found Me a man. He shall do all My pleasure" (1 Samuel 13-16; Acts 13:22).

Now God brought in a new man, and the whole change turns upon that little word, "Do." "He shall do all My pleasure." That was the trouble with Saul as you remember, he did not do the will of God. In First Samuel 15, God told Saul what he was to do, precisely and definitely: "Go, destroy Amalek, and leave nothing of Amalek remaining." And Saul went and half did the job, he compromised, argued, excused, saved something. He did not do all God's pleasure. He did not do it. Now he is repudiated because he did not do the will of God. David is brought in on that wonderful word, "He shall do all My pleasure." This is the new man, this is the difference. The other one who is not wholly, utterly committed to God, to do His will is repudiated. And then there is the man who will do. So it is just a question of obedience! And that crisis in Saul and David is just one of the numerous illustrations in the Old Testament of this great truth. Here is a man who does not do the will of God, does not satisfy God's will: he is called the old man; and here is the new man who does do God's will: Christ, you have put on Christ. He does all God' will, and I have no need to take time at this point to dwell upon how He did the will of God. That was the battleground to the last degree, "Thy will, O God, not mine." So the New Man is the accepted man, because He is committed to complete obedience. And that is the Man we are supposed to put on!

I think you will agree with me that in too many cases the meaning of that transition, the meaning of that  changeover, does not sink deep enough into the hearts of those who take the step. Many are not living according to that transaction, many have turned away from the meaning of it, and many more are not pursuing the course of that which it meant. We are to repudiate wholly, once and for all, a kind of man with his doings, with his trappings. We are to be done with it - the old man and his doings. Well, the Apostle Paul tells us just a little of the doings in verses eight and nine, "Put ye also away all these: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking, lying." Is that all? No.

Now by contrast, here is the new: "Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion." Well, you put off a heart that is not a heart of compassion. You "put on kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, forgiving each other" (verse 12). All that is contrary to these things belongs to the doings of the old man. "You put them off." The old man is very clearly portrayed here, and the new man also. Well, that is what is supposed to have happened with you and with me. That is something done. That is not a process, I mean the putting off of the old man, and the putting on of the new. That is not a process, that is a "position." The process is what belongs to him, the old man, any relics at all, anything associated with him is to be progressively put off, and what is belonging to the new man being put on.

Well, this putting on of the new man is, as we have said, the real engagement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is bringing about a new adornment altogether. Peter has a way of speaking of this. He says about these saintly sisters, whose adornment is not in the plaiting of the hair, and the wearing jewels of gold, but is the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. That word "adornment" is translated, "world." The word in the original is: "whose cosmos." The correct translation in one sense is that the meaning of "world" is the form, the adornment, all that makes it up. But Peter says, "That is not the world of a true believer. You do not live in that world." Do not think that you can be careless about things, but do not live in it, do not let it be your life, your world, whose adornment is not that, whose world is not that, but whose adornment, whose world is a meek and a quiet spirit. This is of great price in the sight of God. This is the real value from God's standpoint.

Well, we just conclude at this point with a re-emphasis. We have said early on that we had just one object in view, it may be wrapped around with all these other things that we have said, and are saying, but right at the heart there is only one thing; and that thing is Christ-likeness, being renewed unto the image of Him. And you notice the word that we have not underlined here, it is: "Renewed unto knowledge, after the IMAGE of Him that created him." It just means this, dear friends, that you and I, throughout our Christian life are to be learning what Christ is, and what Christ is like, discovering Christ for life, learning in knowledge that leads unto conformity, unto the renewal of the lost IMAGE.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 12)

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